Scheduling appointments only matters if donors show up for their appointments. Reminding donors of their responsibilities maximizes your show rate, which has obvious and direct impacts on your productive donor rate.
Reminder calls are important for several reasons:
- They ensure that donors remember appointments.
- They ensure that donors have correct details of where and when they are donating.
- They decrease deferral rates by reminding donors to eat well and drink plenty of fluids.
- They provide another opportunity to share details of promotions and loyalty programs.
- They provide an opportunity to reschedule when donors can no longer keep appointments.
Reminder calls for most donations should be made the day before the appointment. The exception is for platelet donations. These reminder calls should be made 3 days in advance so that donors can be reminded to avoid aspirin-containing products.
Live conversations increase productive donor rates. Make reminder calls around the same time of day as when you originally spoke to set the appointment. If you reached a donor at 7:00 p.m. last time, there is a greater chance that he or she will be available for a reminder call at 7:00 p.m. If you do reach a donor’s voicemail, however, leave a brief message with all pertinent information.
In either case, you may also consider supplementing reminder calls with reminder emails and text messages.
Try implementing these tips into you blood donor recruitment strategy, and watch your results increase!
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Let’s take into consideration some simple facts before we start:
- People are not using landline telephones as often as in the past.
- The population of eligible blood donors in America is shrinking.
What is a blood center with an ailing current donor base to do? Prospect for new donors.
I consider Incept to be the “A-team” of recruiting brand new donors. This is not simply because I myself do a lot of prospecting recruitment, but because we have so much experience recruiting new blood donors through cold calling, especially over the last three years.
As many blood centers across the nation deal with the decline in donors due to age, illness, or other assorted reasons, the need for blood doesn’t diminish. In the field of blood donor recruitment, Incept has specialized in prospecting brand new donors for clients who desire to build up their current donor base, as well as reactivate lapsed donors who might not have donated in quite some time.
When prospecting for new blood donors, here are some things that Incept keeps in mind as an organization so that we can be realistically successful.
New Donors to Keep the Flow
- We train Conversational Marketing™ Experts (CMEs) who have strong back-end data, as well as personable conversational skills to be a prospecting program’s ambassadors.
- We become as familiar as we can with the area that we are calling so that we can sound credible and be able to give directions and guidance for new donors.
- We always shoot to schedule within 10 days. Data shows that a blood donor is much more likely to show up and actually donate if scheduled within this time frame.
- We always maximize the call records by appropriately rebutting, documenting information, and asking if anyone else in the house can donate.
- We specifically try to focus on appointments at donor centers for a more direct impact but also are able to incorporate mobile drives into our pitch at the client’s request.
With just the above points it is easy to see why prospecting campaigns for a blood center’s tele-recruitment efforts can be worthwhile. As long as you make sure you aren’t simply running through the phone records you have to call, and you are making an earnest effort with your scheduling abilities, your blood center will see some type of increase in relation to its current donor base.
Even though prospecting is a cold calling style of tele-recruitment campaign, its success lies directly in your representative’s delivery of the pitch, sense of education about donating blood, and ability to make each call personal!
How do you educate your representatives on how to take a “cold call”?
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I have to clean my kitchen every day. If I forget, don’t have the time, or simply feel too lazy to do the work, my kitchen will continue to deteriorate to the point where it is no longer able to function with any efficiency. Employees, at any level, need constant maintenance just like kitchens.
Follow-up training for employees is just as important as the initial training (or new hire training) they receive. It is something often overlooked or dismissed due to cost. However, the investment in continued training will pay off in increased dividends in the bottom line, company growth, and reduced turnover.
There are three critical areas that are affected by follow-up training:
- Customer Service - New ideas and technology lead to constantly changing tactics. Keeping your employees well-trained and well-equipped provides competitiveness and strength. Re-teaching customer service techniques also helps to keep ideas fresh and employees ready.
- Product Knowledge - Your employees are better able to assist donors by improving efficiency and building a reputation for quality. Employee morale will also increase due to this reputation, building your employee satisfaction and loyalty.
- Employee productivity - Employees can often be stressed by the thought of trying new ideas or tactics due to fear of making a mistake. Employees may fear being fired for these mistakes, breaking expensive technology, or simply failing in front of their colleges. Training provides a safe place to make mistakes with little or no consequences, which allows us to step outside of our comfort zone and ultimately improve our skills.
Continued or ongoing training provides several advantages to both your company’s front-end numbers (in increased sales and profits), as well as your company‘s back-end numbers (in increased employee satisfaction and reduced turnover).
Try it and watch your results increase!
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How do you improve your blood donor recruitment efforts? We have heard and shared numerous ways to effectively recruit blood donors over the phone. From using the LAMA technique to educating donors about their blood type, there are many ways to improve your results when you are speaking to a donor.
However, there are also important processes and strategies that take place “behind the scenes” of the phone call that are designed to improve contact rates and have your recruiters speaking to as many donors as possible. One of these strategies is to sort your call lists so that you are calling the right donors at the right time.
Sorting your call lists doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated. Essentially, you want to avoid calling the same donors in the same order every day. Here are a few options that can easily be implemented right away to your blood donor recruitment efforts:
- Prioritize donors who have given more recently by sorting by “last donation date”.
- To focus on inventory needs, sort by blood type.
- Sort by city, state, or zip code if there are certain areas and donor centers that need special attention.
- If you do not call completely through your list on a regular basis, sort the list so that the highest-priority donors will be contacted.
- Consider sorting by how many times you have attempted to call donors. Donors with one or two attempts should be called before a donor who has been called three or more times.
Sorting your lists effectively will ensure that you are prioritizing donors correctly and maximizing your contact rates. Each donor base is unique, so test several of these options, and find the strategy that works best for your team!
Try this and watch your results increase!
Billie Johnson, Vice President of Client Results, shares why Incept is different than other blood donor recruiting centers and how you can use Conversational Marketing™ to recruit more donors to your blood center.
Interested in learning more about Incept’s Conversational Marketing™ approach, as well as our Listen before Lead process? Contact us today!
As I discussed in an earlier post, coaching your Blood Donor Recruiter is essential to maximize results in your donor recruitment process. It helps ensure they are staying fresh and bringing in the highest number of donors to donate blood. At the end of every coaching session, it is important to develop goals for the Blood Donor Recruiter. These goals should be items that help to improve their results. But how can you ensure the goals are right? Make sure the goals are SMART.
SMART—an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistically high, and Time-bound—is a widely-used and time-proven method for defining goals in a way that invites accountability and achievement.
- Specific: No vague statements. For instance, “I’ll get better at following the script,” is vague. Who is to say what “better at” means? “I will follow the script,” on the other hand, describes exactly what the tele-recruiter is committing to do.
- Measurable: In order to incorporate accountability, goals must be measurable. “I will follow the script,” is specific, but as it is written, following it just one time is enough. “I will follow the script in 100% of my conversations with donors,” tells exactly how often the tele-recruiter will comply.
- Attainable: Setting a goal unrealistically high only results in frustration and can be demotivating. Perhaps the tele-recruiter currently follows the script only 75% of the time. It may be that 100% of the time is too lofty of a goal for one week’s improvement. “I will follow the script in 85% of my conversations with donors,” may be more attainable.
- Realistically High: Yet, goals need to stretch individuals. Improving from 75% to 85% in a week may be too easy. “I will follow the script in 95% of my conversations with donors,” may be difficult but doable. It may be realistically high for the individual.
- Time-Bound: Finally, there needs to be a date range within which the tele-recruiter will accomplish the goal. Because you will be meeting again in a week for Follow-Up Coaching, most often you will have the tele-recruiter set a goal to accomplish within a week’s time. “I will follow the script in 95% of my conversations with donors in the next week,” locks in commitment and accountability.
At the end of the coaching session, set a follow-up date to review progress on things discussed during the coaching session. This follow-up date should typically be one week ahead.
Try implementing this into your coaching session, and watch you donor recruitment results increase!
In my time at Incept as a Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME), an overwhelming majority of donors that I have talked with have donated blood purely due to the reason that it helps other people’s lives.
That being said, small incentives to donate can go a long way. Whether it be a free t-shirt, burrito, or burger to munch on after donating, or even a free gas card, many blood centers have experimented with different ways to get people to donate.
Lately in my blood donor recruitment calls I try to really show true appreciation for donors by thanking them for their own specific lifetime donations with a center or conveying their blood type importance. Another huge piece of conversational ammunition that I have to help my recruitment efforts is the ability to explain what type of promotions a blood center has within their specific donor loyalty program.
A donor loyalty program can be a cost-effective measure for any blood center to invest into to help maintain a larger percent of their current donor base. Beyond the fact that it can help drive more donations, it is also an easy way to make donors feel important and ultimately build a direct relationship with them. You have to think about the fact that blood cannot be manufactured; therefore, it has to be given in order to be used!
So where does a blood center even begin to focus on creating a successful donor loyalty program? Here is some insight into different aspects of successful donor loyalty programs.
- The focus should be on the people you serve as well as the donors. A wise detail to consider when designing your donor loyalty program should be the fact that it must focus on what you are aiming for it to help accomplish (which is hopefully more consistent blood donors)! Create a strong call to action in your branding by simply emphasizing the importance and good of what donating blood really does in the community that your organization serves. Easy enough to consider, no?
- There are clear ways to measure what a donation is worth within a donor loyalty program. A very common trend that I notice throughout the blood donation industry is the use of “points” within individual donor loyalty programs. For a common example, let’s say a blood donor that is part of a donor loyalty program donates an apheresis red cell donation. Now let’s say that donation is worth 250 points in your program. Many centers have online stores in which these points can be redeemed for things such as t-shirts, household items, gift cards, and gas cards. This is great because it puts the blood center in control of point values and provides clear and practical incentives for their donors.
- Give other options for your donor loyalty program members to help even more. Like I’ve said, many blood donors purely donate regardless of if they are getting something in return or not. The simple satisfaction of helping people is what keeps this type of donor coming back. A very cool thing I’ve seen blood centers do with their donor loyalty programs is offer the ability to donate a specific amount of points back to a charitable cause or to help reduce their own operations costs!
When it comes down to it, look at the way your donor loyalty program can help keep your current donors involved. Ultimately, you have to consider the fact that these folks are giving part of themselves, and rather than have a customer-to-consumer relationship, you must look at creating an effective donor loyalty program with a sense of sincere stewardship.
What other tips do you have on creating effective donor loyalty programs to help you blood donor recruitment efforts?
Coaching your Blood Donor Recruiters is a daily task. You want to make sure they are doing the best they can, staying sharp and recruiting as many blood donors as possible. How can it be done effectively to get the best results for you and the blood donor recruiter? Coaching sessions should be Durable, Actionable, Straightforward, and Helpful. You may remember these using the acronym “DASH.”
- Durable: Written records from Formal Coaching should be easy to understand–not just at the moment, but also in the future. Supervisors should spell out details and avoid abbreviations. A written record is durable if a tele-recruiter can understand it 5 days after the session just as easily as during the session.
- Actionable: The tele-recruiter must have a crystal clear understanding of how to act upon the advice received and the benefits of doing so.
- Straightforward: The tele-recruiter should understand each word, line, instruction, and piece of advice that is offered. The supervisor must be adept at recognizing confusion and at clarifying when needed.
- Helpful: This is not just a “feel good meeting.” The content of the discussion must be honest and useful so that the tele-recruiter can use it to score more wins.
By ensuring that your coaching sessions are achieving each one of these actions, you will be able to maintain an effective coaching session and your blood donor recruiter will be making impactful calls that are driving more blood donors in the door.
Try it and watch your results increase!
Blood donor recruitment isn’t for everyone. But I guess you can say that about a lot of things.
Not everyone is meant to be an NFL player, rock star, or CEO for that matter. I don’t believe in the thought that in the professional world an employee can’t experience a metamorphosis from noob to master of their skill. A good organization will understand the importance of not only starting with proper candidates for the job, but also recognizing the strengths those candidates possess for them to build on.
For one to be employed in the telecommunications industry, there are important things to take into consideration. Here is a list of strengths that our Conversational Marketing™ Experts (CMEs) have that help them succeed each and every day.
What It Takes
- Believe in what you do. Donating blood is a very good thing for any human to do! I’ve talked with many blood donors and recipients over the last few years, and you can tell in their voices how much they have been moved by donating. We host between 5-6 blood drives a year at Incept to encourage Conversational Marketing™ Experts (CMEs) to practice what we preach.
- With a positive mindset and willing effort, results fall into place. When we think positively, things just have a way of working themselves out – provided we are working towards a solution or improvement. Every day will be different for all Conversational Marketing™ Experts (CMEs). You could be on fire with appointments one day and be at a high percent to goal, but the next day you’ll be lucky to only make a few the whole shift. The key is to relax and find a groove. Take mental action against what is holding you back, and work towards it in a positive manner. Blood donor recruiting is a marathon, not a sprint.
- Be yourself, not a salesman. We make it obvious at Incept that we aren’t telemarketers. Sadly, due largely to the medium in which we communicate with our donors, we are lumped in with the likes of telemarketers. As a Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME), you look past that. We do something that you can’t do by selling magazine subscriptions, cable television service, or any other product. We save lives. Your call to a donor literally prompts them to go to a donor center and donate a lifesaving blood donation if you are successful. How cool is that?
- Natural competitors apply here. We always think it is fun to throw a little friendly competition in the mix at the company. Right now we are in the midst of a March Madness competition between multiple teams in the contact center with a cash pool. Be ready to compete. A little competition makes the day go fast and end productively. Bring your best, and you will succeed.
While we do measure a Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) by their success, quality, and overall individual program performance, at the end of the day we believe in what we do not only because we do it so well, but because it is woven into our overall company culture so deeply. Something that has proven invaluable to our success, at least from my own perspective.
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Niki Taylor recently had the opportunity to thank and hug some of the blood donors who helped to save her life more than 10 years ago. The Metropolitan Atlanta Chapter of the American Red Cross was able to host Niki and about 15 of her donors for the emotional reunion. In 2001, Niki was in a car accident that left her critically injured. She needed more than 100 transfusions during her treatment, and it took more than 300 blood donors to provide the blood and blood products she needed to survive.
“My road to recovery was long and tough and painful,” said Niki. “I needed many transfusions, and I had dozens of operations to repair the damage caused by the accident.” Niki credits her survival to the donors who gave her a second chance at life and the doctors, nurses and staff at Grady Memorial Hospital who treated her.
On Wednesday, March 20th, Niki was able to put a face to some of these donors and personally thank them for saving her life. The meeting was a big surprise to the donors, as they did not know their blood was used to save a celebrity!
“It’s very exciting to meet one of the people who has been a recipient of my blood donation,” said Susan Jackson, an Atlanta-area donor. “It’s actually inspired me. I’m a seven-gallon donor.”
Niki’s experience has turned her into a full supporter of the Red Cross, and she is doing her part to help spread the word of the need and importance of donating blood! Her life was almost taken by that car accident, but she took it back! She is now sharing her story to help inspire others to roll up their sleeve and donate!